allende diaries & ss pinafore: where did mr. roberts disappear?

by Art Chantry (

in 1955, astronomer, mathematician, physicist, archeologist Morris K. Jessup published his book, “the case for the UFOs.” in it he defended the existence of flying saucers. the book caused a mild sensation and he became one of the big seemingly reasonable names in the new field of flying saucer lore. within a couple of years he was found dead – carbon monoxide poisoning (exhaust hose through the car window). it was ruled a suicide – OR WAS IT MURDER!?!?!?? morris K. Jessup became one of the first ‘mysterious martyrs’ in the paranoid religion of the ufo.

about a year after his UFO book was published jessup began receiving letters from a man who called himself “carlos allende”, “carlos miguel allende”, “carl.m. allen”, “carl allen” and “mr. A”. in his letters he claims he lives in texas, but all of of his stories involved the city of philadelphia. he spent a lot of time discussing jessup’s allusions to and ideas involving einstein’s ‘unified field theories’, and seemed to have a rather professional handle on the complicated details of the science involved. allende kept referring to a military experiment involving tests of this ‘unified feild theory’ as a weapon.

AC:furthermore, some of the 'missing, mad or dead' crew memebrs are found through research and all of them are totally bewildered about their old ship's crackpot history. they all claim they were there in philly during that period fo time, band they sure don't remember anything about any military test with crew members becoming merged with the metal ship after a temporal time/space shift experiment. but,t hey do remember a guy named 'carl allen'. said he was a regular 'goldbrick'.

jessup assumes it’s some crazy, but the letters continue for a spell. then, one day, out of the blue, morris k. jessup gets a request to visit the office of naval research in washington, dc. in the meeting he is told that admiral furth, chief of naval research, was hand delivered a manilla envelope marked only with “happy easter!”. inside was a copy of morris k. jessup’s book, “the case for the UFOs”. throughout the book (in red ink) in the margins were notes and diagrams that seem to relate to some top secret test and information about the unified field theory that troubled the navy. they wanted to know if jessup knew anything abut this? after all, it was HIS book it was scribbled in.

jessup immediately recognized the handwriting as that of this mysterious “allende” person. and told the officers his story. he also produced the allende letters for them and it began a investigation into the identity of this ‘allende’ individual (which was never discovered by the military.) but, it seems he was on to something that troubled the navy intelligence. seems his references to a top secret experiment aboard the ‘ss. andrew furnseth’ harbored at a dock in philly and involved some sort of invisibility cloaking device. according to the mysterious allende in his margin notes, the ship disappeared in a purple haze and then reappeared in the norfolk/portsmouth area. then it disappeared again and reappeared at it’s original mooring in philadelphia. sounds like a nifty trick and the military wanted to check it out. they do that sort of thing, ya know.

however, the crew was either gone missing, completely stark raving mad or ‘half absorbed into the metal walls and decks of the ship.” this is the official origins of the notorious ‘philadelphia experiment’ of crackpot history infamy and made-for-tv movie familiarity. how many “in search of…” style tv shows were dedicated to this event? it’s countless. and it all came from these scribbles in the margins of a cheezy book – all written by some anonymus crackpot.

of course, afterwards, the mysterious allende still drops his letters (aka info bombs) into the mail now and then, but eventually disappears as mysteriously as he emerged. meanwhile jessup’s paranoid buttons have been pushed and he finds his phone tapped and his every move being followed. he gets mysterious visits form strange “men in black” driving odd cars and behaving peculiarly. his office and files get ransacked. basically, he is getting scared by all this stuff and it’s taking a toll. eventually, he is found dead. from this point on, the mystery of the allende letters become folklore.

the original copy of jessup’s book, complete with carefully reproduced (in red ink, of course) margin scribbles is printed by the navy in an edition of something like ten ‘top secret’ copies. to this day, this is the holy grail of ufology collectors. it’s more exotic than a coelacanth. the myth of the now-dubbed ‘philadelphia experiment’ become part of accepted american crackpot folklore – right up there with roswell, bigfoot and countless bad books, worse television shows and completely unwatchable movies have been made about the event in philadelphia. enormous conspiracy webs have been woven until it’s linked to the kennedy asassination and the face on mars. i mean to say, it’s crazy, man, CRAZY!

before too long he story in it’s amplified form gets into the mainstream press (probably in august, when news stories are traditionally slow) and then it REALLY takes off and starts it’s linkage to every bizarre mystery on earth and beyond. it even gets linked to mysterious caves full of metal books and strange looking children in south america and mythical kingdom’s like lemuria and even tolkein’s middle earth. of course, the new theories and stories finish with apocalyptic end-of-the world predictions. it’s become one of the foundation stones of every new age religion and borderline magic society and paranoid conspiracy theory. it’s a building block of this midnight world.

so, just who was this ‘allende’ guy? about 10-20 years ago (some 40-50 years after the letters were written), a conspiracy/ufologist investigator took it upon himself to track down this ‘carl allende’ and see “whutup, dude.” he turned out to be rather easy to find – using the trail of false names he used. i seem to remember he was a chilean man who lived in mexico (or something) when he was foun

hen approached by the researcher, he was friendly and very happy to be interviewed and the result was a chatty story about how ‘carlos allende’ wasn’t even his real name (i forget what it really was, but it was even more banal.)

he wrote the letters to jessup because he was intrigued by the new flying saucer fad and want to find out more. basically, they were merely fan letters. his ideas about the ‘unified field theory’ were simply his own ideas (based on some magazine articles he had read) and not some mysterious military conspiracy. he made up the story about the ship in philadelphia. he was apparently actually a crew member of that ship at one time in the merchant marines of something and that was the link to the specific ship. i don’t have the details in front of me, but i do remember that the guy turned out to be a big nothing. it was all bullshit. even the mysterious “s.s. andrew furnsworth” was found in a some metal scrap yard ready for the blast furnace.

in reality, he had no idea that his letters had even been read by jessup, much less anybody else. then after the interview, he went on his way, never to be seen again.


AC: nobody really knows how that book got onto the desk of admiral furst. but, it’s assumed it was sent to him as a amusing little joke by an underling. thought he’d get a good laugh out of it on his easter holiday or something.

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